Facebook contempt: Juror jailed for contacting defendant on Internet


Juror Joanne Frail arrives at the High Court. She is the first juror to be prosecuted for contempt of court for using the Internet. (Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images))

Forty-year-old Joanne Frail says she communicated with defendant Jamie Sewart because she saw “considerable parallels” between the their lives. Frail also admitted to looking up the defendant’s boyfriend while the jury was still in the deliberation process.

The communication between the two women caused the ongoing multimillion-pound drug trial that they were a part of in Manchester to collapse, the Christian Science Monitor reported. Frail was sentenced to eight months in jail, becoming the first case in Britain of a juror jailed for Internet use.

New guidelines are expected to be implemented in Britain on Internet use by jurors, including warnings from judges to jurors at the start of trials, information videos, and notices throughout jury rooms.

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